In the chaos of life and caring for those around us, it’s often difficult to remember to give to ourselves. But if we don’t, we deplete fast, and when we’re depleted, it’s impossible to give our best to those we love. Learn how to evaluate when you need self-care and come up with a personalized self-care plan to implement it when you need it most. Free printable included!
The past few years I’ve found myself burnt-out, overstressed, and avoiding my feelings. I wasn’t taking care of myself properly, and my whole family was suffering because of it. So I’ve been on a self-care journey–learning what it actually is and how to make it a part of my life.
This task, while much easier when we know the true definition, can be tricky to implement. As women, we love to do and give and help others–and the last thing on our minds is how to do and give and help ourselves. But in order to give our best to others, we have to first fill our own cups.
Do You Need Self-Care?
First off, the answer to this question is yes. Everyone needs self-care. But to what extent we need it may differ. Some people need more self-care because they do it less, so they’re totally depleted and need to replenish their stores. Some people are dealing with really tough life situations that call for a little more care–loss of a loved one, chronic illness, kids who aren’t sleeping through the night, a big life change like a move or a new baby, etc.
When determining how much you need self-care, here are some good baseline questions to ask yourself:
- Am I tired?
- Does my body feel tight?
- Do I have a lack of focus?
- Is my bed or the couch calling to me?
- Am I avoiding tasks?
- Am I overeating or overspending?
- Am I snapping at my kids or spouse or others?
- Am I consuming more caffeine or sugar than normal?
- Are my emotions super intense?
- Does my brain feel foggy?
- Do I have a headache or other body aches and pains?
- Am I having a hard time concentrating?
If your answer to any of these is yes, it’s probably time to devote a few minutes (or hours) to yourself. Remember, if you keep pushing yourself and trying to give your everything to the ones you love, you’ll eventually burn out or your body will force you to slow down (by getting sick). Taking time for you isn’t selfish. It’s the only way you’ll ever be able to give your best to your family.
Disclaimer: Many of the above questions can be a sign of something more serious, like a vitamin deficiency, mental health condition, etc. I am not a doctor, and my advice here pertains only to a lack of self-care and only to what has worked for me in my personal experience. If you feel like you’re dealing with something more, please consult a physician.
Create a Self-Care Plan
Sometimes, when we’re lacking self-care, it’s hard to know what to do for ourselves that will truly benefit us (rather than a quick fix or avoiding our emotions). We’re so depleted that we can’t think rationally about what our bodies or minds really need.
That’s when a self-care plan comes into play. When we’re thinking clearly, we can come up with a plan ahead of time to combat stress or other negative side effects. Then, when those moments hit, all we have to do is look at our list and complete the action.
I created this printable to help you come up with your own personalized self-care plan. You can download it here or click on the picture below.
Self-care isn’t easy, and is rarely at the forefront of our minds. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter. Take some time this week to create a personalized self-care plan for yourself. When you’re feeling the pressure of the world closing in on you, look to your plan and take the time to care for yourself. Remember, we can’t pour from an empty cup!
What do you do to practice self-care?